July 2016
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”   – Aristotle

Swim with the Fishes

How To Eliminate Tech Anxiety for Voice Actors

If you were born prior to 1980, technology may elude you to some extent. You’re not alone. “The Great Digital Divide” may have carved a massive line in the sand and left you feeling on the wrong side of things. And, granted, you may have fallen sorely behind on what you need to know (or at least feel you need to know) to advance your career as a talent—unless, of course, you’ve worked in a field where computers and technology played a dominant role, or you’ve made a concerted effort to expose yourself to today’s constant advances. Full-blown tech anxiety may be the primary thing standing between you and working steadily as a professional talent.

It wasn’t that long ago MP3s became the standard format to deliver your auditions and the Internet became a common utility. When they did, scores of very skillful talent were left out in the cold. Suffice it to say, the industry hasn’t been the same since.

Prior to that, embracing technology was never really required of talent, voiceover or otherwise. Back in the day, your agent would call “your service”, and you’d show up the next day at the studio or agency at your designated audition time. The upside of this former audition process was it afforded talent face time with producers and casting directors, and far fewer talent were called in to audition per project.

So, while today’s technology may offer far more talent the opportunity to audition for far more work, the benefit is there’s at least 10 times more work to audition for than in the past.

However, you’ll only manage to survive to the extent you’re willing to make yourself known and available to the work. Whether you work or not relies on how easily can you be reached—via text, voicemail, and/or e-mail. Today it’s necessary you make yourself known using online casting services, such as ActorsAccess.com, CastingNetworks.com, CastingFrontier.com, Voicebank.net, as well as social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and various Pay-to-Play sites (especially if you’re non-union and just starting out). At SOUND ADVICE we recommend, you promote yourself as a voice talent with your voiceover only web page.

Calm down and exhale. I realize I may just have stirred your anxiety into a frothy layer with that last paragraph. Have faith. We now have commonplace advances designed to make your life easier. And they will, if you embrace them. You may find you’ll actually enjoy this.

Enter: The Jetsons. Or at least our version of ‘his boy, Elroy’… Enter: Jeff Finney!

No one is better equipped or experienced to help you through the “techno-maze” than our very own head of production. For the cost of a simple coaching session, Jeff will assess what your issues are, where you’re recording, what are you trying to accomplish, and what options are currently at your fingertips that you may not have considered.

It’s probably a whole lot simpler than you might have ever dreamed. CLICK HERE to learn more: http://voiceoverinfo.com/shop/home-recording-help/ ›

A Page from Our BOOK

We fully updated our “The SOUND ADVICE Encyclopedia of Voice-over & the Business of Being a Working Talent” about 2 years ago, and we’ll likely do it again next year. That’s how much technology and this industry has changed!

Yet, the more things change, the more some things stay the same. For instance… matching, the term used when you are trying to re-create the timbre, emotion, inflection, phrasing, volume/proximity and tempo of a delivery; make a slight adjustment; or to correct a minor error in the initial read.

Also, if, at a session, the client preferred a specific take and simply wants to change a line or phrase they may have you punch in the corrected line, which requires you match the original delivery as much as possible.

The truth is there are only three circumstances in which one specific delivery is required from you:

  1. When you are understudying a stage role. According to Actors’ Equity, you are expected to recreate the original actor’s performance as closely as possible.
  2. When you are in a professional touring company of a stage production (such as The Producers or Hairspray). These productions are very strictly choreographed to match the original production—to the letter in every way because a very specific product is being presented, and the original show is the blueprint for the touring company. Additionally, these productions are often heavy ‘tech’ shows, and straying from the program could increase the risk of injury to cast and crew.
  3. And—when adding or correcting a line in a voice-over or on-camera production (known as ADR or looping).

Other than that, matching is not the desired goal of a performance; it’s only a tool and nothing more.

And THAT, my friend, is why we’re the only place going called SOUND ADVICE. œ


Going The Distance

When asked, “Why do some people succeed, and others don’t?” Many assume it simply takes talent. While talent is a key component, it can be developed. Certainly natural ability is impressive at the onset, but can it go the distance?

There’s honestly no one answer or solution to why you might succeed over anyone else. But I do believe there are four imperative components: Pursue, Persist, Prepare, and Promote.

Simply having exceptional training and a competitive demo will not drive bookings into your lap. You have to pursue the work with these tools. This is probably the greatest misstep of the most intelligent, most creative people you’ve ever known. (“Why didn’t so and so ‘make it’? He was amazing!” He didn’t because he thought the world would come to him.) Talent is not solely what you were born with. It takes attention. Left alone it will atrophy and ultimately fail you. The fact is you have to bring these gifts to the world. The world will not seek you out. Extraordinary opportunity will die on the vine without your continuous pursuit.

Set your sights on your immediate and long-term goals, and persist at them. Developing and maintaining your skills requires persistent dedication. And the demand for your persistence only increases with success, not the other way around—contrary to what many novice talent may assume. This could account for the great failure rate associated with this industry.

Of course, if you’re easily frustrated or simply give up after a few months of training, or even after just a year or two of promotion, then you’ll never honestly know for yourself what you could have created without any real persistence. Developing your abilities coupled with on-going promotion requires patience. So does allowing yourself to develop your skills so that agility becomes intuitive.

Preparation is continually required of you as a talent on a variety of levels. The moment your skills lay dormant, your professionalism will be shaken, and with that, your confidence. Your confidence is directly related to your integrity. And regardless of your position, no matter how affluent you may be, no one can afford to lose his or her integrity. So you must continue to prepare. Your mettle will be tested when you least expect it, and nothing defines your ‘luck’ better than when opportunity meets preparedness.

As a rule: never set your sights on securing ‘just one audition’, or ‘one big break’, or ‘wait until the time is just right’. As you will only secure ONE audition, ONE break, and the time will never arrive because you never took the time to put the opportunity in your schedule. The time is right when you decide it is, so make that NOW. Make a decision as to what you want in your life and work toward that goal. By doing so you’ll accomplish everything you ever imagined possible.

Every audition is a form of promotion, yet so many artists repel even the notion of promotion that this could easily account for the scores of talented souls who have fallen into oblivion before ever allowing self-promotion to bridge the gap from unknown to genuine opportunity. But, I promise you, if you leave your career alone nothing will happen. It will slip through your fingers.

These four elements are absolutely vital to succeed at ANYTHING, let alone acting and voiceover, because they require constant attention. It’s your responsibility to insure these key factors are continually in play. They’re required of you as a talent no matter how novice or how far along in your career you may be. They’re a constant.

Whatever it is you may end up accomplishing in this business, success will occur only if you pursue it. It won’t come to you, no matter how much talent you have and regardless the amount of nepotism you may have access to. Ultimately, it’s up to you to run your career.

No one who ever scored an Oscar accepted it, saying, “This was so easy!” The fact is anything worthwhile is accomplished from hard work and lots of it. And much of that work is in the form of consistent promotion. It’s how we make ourselves known and familiar. If you intend to succeed as a working talent, promotion comes with the territory. And while you may be a strong ‘sprint runner’ at the onset of your career, aim to go the distance.

And even with the assistance we continually offer you here at SOUND ADVICE, you’re the one who has to dedicate yourself to the task of getting the job done. Certainly your odds are far greater with us than without us, but it’s still work and you’re the one who has to do it. No one will give it to you, or create it for you. You can’t purchase it, but you can effectively invest in yourself to deliver what’s needed and wanted of you so you’re ready at a moment’s notice. That’s the only way you’ll build confidence and earn experience.

There’s always something you could be doing RIGHT NOW to forward your goals. So, just do it! And procrastinate tomorrow. ›

Copyright © 2016 by Kate McClanaghan, Inc. All Rights Reserved.